When the COVID-19 pandemic began changing life around the globe, local landscaping business Battle Ground Rockery was already looking for a way to renovate their business to accommodate more customers and offer contactless “drive-through” pickup options.
“We knew we had some work to do to the site, anyways,” said Battle Ground Rockery Operations Manager Sam Rhoades, who mentioned the pandemic just exacerbated the need for an upgrade.
Battle Ground Rockery started in 2010 and offers bark and rock products to both businesses and the general public of the north county area. In 2016, the business moved to its location off Main Street and also offers mixed soils, dirt, top soil and sand.
According to Rhoades, Tapani Inc., which owns the rockery, fully purchased the land last year and began making renovations to the property and the building on it.
Battle Ground Rockery Manager Nikki Dunn said the main plans for renovations included making it “safer and more efficient” for customers picking up and ordering products.
“Customers can (now) stay in their vehicle and no contact is needed,” Dunn said. “It keeps the line flowing and keeps people happy.”
Allowing a steady flow of traffic through the property was a top priority for the rockery as it planned out its renovation.
According to Dunn, prior to the recent change, cars would line up on the property and out onto Main Street, crowding the yard space and creating a traffic hazard on the main road. The rockery’s entrance is now located to the right of Battle Ground Produce, which allows the line of people who want to pick up yard materials to wrap around the produce building. The change has doubled the line’s capacity and has taken cars off Main Street on busy days.
“We were completely outgrowing the other parking area and now have enough capacity and enough room to effectively serve our customers,” Dunn said. “(And) customers are absolutely loving it. … They love that they can just drive up to the window and get what they need.”
Dunn said the process is much more convenient for the driver. After pulling up to the window and placing their order for material, the driver pulls forward 20 yards or so to have a loader fill their pickup truck or trailer with bark, rock and more.
Dunn said the experience of watching the rockery expand from a small building in a muddy field to the current business format after the renovation has been “amazing” and the new property is “much nicer and more appealing.”
Along with the addition of the drive through, the renovation allowed the rockery to expand the yard and increase the space for each product, resulting in fewer large deliveries to the business.
The yard expansion also gave the rockery the space to create “displays” of the products just outside of the drive-through. With the display, the rockery has set up each of their products with a labeled sign to show customers how the rock, bark or dirt would look outside of their home.
“We wanted to show people what it would look like on their property since a lot of the rocks can get dirty in the yard,” Dunn said, who added some people brought up how “dirty” the rocks were in the yard. “We wanted to show them that after you wash them or have a little rain, it can look like this.”
Along with the large-scale demonstration, the rockery has also set up a smaller scale operation in front of the office, allowing customers to touch and view the product up close as well as see the differences between offerings. Dunn said the rockery has even created its own form of gravel for use around the property.
With the expansion, the rockery also started selling a few products in bags for customers that “don’t need a lot” or don’t have a vehicle that allows the person to transport a large amount of potting soil.
According to Dunn, the smallest quantity a customer can buy in the yard is half a cubic yard of material, the space equivalent to 27 bags of topsoil that weigh 40 pounds each.
While the COVID-19 pandemic kickstarted much of the renovation efforts at the rockery, Dunn said the pandemic has also increased business as people spend more time at home landscaping their properties. The uptick in business hasn’t slowed down even as the community moves into the second year of the pandemic, Dunn said.
“COVID was a complete flip of the switch as families had nothing to do,” Dunn said. “We were fortunate enough that we were able to stay open as families needed an outlet to do something. We went from zero to 100 overnight.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here